Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Window War Just Got Hotter

And this time, it looks like the left is kicking it up a notch.

Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that his Richmond campaign office has been shot at and that he's received "threatening e-mails"....

Cantor said "a bullet was shot through the window" of his campaign office. The incident happened Monday, Fox News has learned, the latest in a rash of apparent threats and acts of intimidation against members of Congress.


Cantor is a Republican, the House Minority Whip.

Most political violence in the US has historically come from the left.  E.g., the Black Panthers, SDS, and the Weather Underground. 

Most people on the conservative side of the aisle just want to be left alone to go on with their lives and to keep the fruits of their labor.   It's the leftists who want to seize property of the productive class in some misguided attempt at redistributive justice.  You can only push people too far before they snap.  If the progressives keep this up -- and I see no indication that they are backing off -- they will experience backlash greater than they can imagine.

Sharing Volumes Between Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux

As anyone who's read this blog for awhile knows, I use a couple of different laptops.  My primary machine is a Macbook Pro running Mac OS 10.6.2, while my secondary machine -- Hobbit -- is an MSI Wind netbook, currently running Windows 7 Ultimate.

The Mac is owned by my employer while I own the Hobbit.  Since I use the Mac for personal purposes as well as work-related tasks (which is OK with my employer) I needed to have a reliable means of backup in the event I change jobs.

On my desk at work I have a Lacie Quadra drive which I use for Time Machine backups over FireWire 800 (it also supports FW400, USB, and eSATA).  It would be pretty easy to restore my data from it to a personally-owned Mac.  However, getting that data onto a PC would be a real chore, requiring the use of a Mac as an intermediary.

I also wanted a portable means of backup that would work with either machine and that wasn't dependent on a network which might not be available.  I might also need to access my data using a Linux system.  The cheapest means of doing so is a USB hard disk.

The USB disk I chose is a Western Digital Elements 640 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive WDBAAR6400ABK-NESN.  It's a 2.5" drive in a plastic external case.  It's bus powered, so no external power supply is required. Compared with the FW800 connection on my LaCie, or even a FW400 connection, USB 2.0 is noticeably slower for sustained transfers.  However, this isn't much of an issue once the initial sync is done.

One problem you run into when sharing disks between Windows and either Mac OS X or Linux boxes is the NTFS file system.  Linux has its own filesystems.  Macs use HFS+.  PCs use NTFS.  Mac OS 10.6 includes read-only support for NTFS.  Windows 7 cannot read HFS+ disks without third party software.

Luckily, there are solutions for sharing an NTFS volume between a Windows machine, and a Linux or Mac OS X machine.  Th one I picked is called NTFS-3G and is available in a higher-performance, proprietary version, as well as a free open source version.  As described in Wikipedia, "NTFS-3G is an open source cross-platform implementation of the Microsoft Windows NTFS file system with read-write support."  NTFS-3G is availabele for OS X, Linux,

I installed the open source version of NTFS-3G on my MBP and so far it's worked very well.  I have'n had problems syncing data between the Mac and the WD disk using CronoSync.  Likewise, I am able to sync the WD disk to Hobbit, using Microsoft's free SyncToy.

Now I have a backup which I can share between my Macs, Windows and Linux boxes.  That's pretty handy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kipling Had Something to Say About This Mess

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
Rudyard Kipling, 1919

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man—
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:—
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

235 Years Ago Today...

...Patrick Henry gave this speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses:

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at the truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?

Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlement assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

And today, President Obama signs a bill into law, placing chains upon the American people the likes of which have never been seen before.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Window War

The Window War is a piece of short fiction written by Mike Vanderboegh back around 1999/2000, about civil disobedience to Federal gun control.

Looks like it's becoming non-fiction.  LinkLinkLinkLink.

When you put peoples' backs up against the wall, when you fail to listen to your constituents, when you fail to run the government according to the rule of law, be glad that bricks are the only things being thrown.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts on the State of the Republic

I had a couple of interesting conversations with coworkers over the past two days regarding the state of the Republic.

The first was with a moderate who leans a bit to the left, and who voted for Obama.  Quoting him, "I have lost all faith in government."  This is largely due to the partisan politics in D.C. and the way that the Democrats aren't behaving any better than the Republicans were (in his view) when they were in power.

The second was with moderate coworker who maybe leans a little to the right (I don't know if he voted for McCain or Obama).  I have a TV at my desk playing Fox News (yes, it's work related).  There was an onscreen blurb about how the Democrats were meeting behind closed doors yet again about the healthcare bill.  "I thought one of Obama's key points during the campaign was transparency," he said.  He also offered the opinion that the politicians will never do anything to make things better.  On top of that, he feels that until someone finally gets fed up enough to start shooting politicians, things won't improve.  Yes, this was a politically moderate, educated man saying that the only possible solution to our political ills is armed insurrection.

Bottom line:

If generally politically moderate Americans are saying this kind of stuff aloud (especially number 2 above), we are in really bad shape and in for some rough times ahead.  If the Democrats keep pushing an agenda which is diametrically opposed to what the American people want, the people will decide that the government isn't legitimate.  At that point all bets are off.

I pray that the Democrats in D.C. are unable to move forward with their agenda until November.  Hopefully they will then take a drubbing even worse than they did in 1994, and then don't ram something down our throats during a lame duck session.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

PSL-54C Range Report

Today I got the chance to shoot a PSL-54C rifle I picked up a couple of weeks ago.  The PSL is a Romanian made sharpshooter's rifle chambered for 7.62x54R.  It feeds from a 10 round detachable box magazine and comes with both iron sights, and a 4x24mm LPS scope.  The semiautomatic action is based on a scaled-up Kalashnikov design.  In the USA the PSL is frequently mis-advertised as a Dragunov, but other than the cartridge for which they are chambered, and their intended roles, the PSL and the SVD have nothing in common.

Other names which the PSL has been advertised under in the US are "Romak III" and "SSG-97."  My rifle, which was made entirely in Romania, is marked "PSL-54C."

Click the thumbnail for a full sized picture of my PSL.

PSL-54C Rifle

I ran about 80 rounds of 7.62x54R light ball (147 grain) through it using a couple different magazines.  Some of the ammo was early 1960s Soviet surplus, while the rest was mid-1970s Hungarian.  I experienced no malfunctions and the rifle's action locked back every time it ran dry.  Unlike most AK variants, the PSL has a last round bolt hold-open.

I started at 25 yards to get the rifle on the paper.  The iron sights were pretty close while the scope required more adjustment to get on paper.  Once I had a rough 25 yard zero I moved over to the 100 yard range.

The PSL has a fairly light, somewhat whippy barrel.  Supposedly groups string vertically when the gun heats up, but I didn't really notice it doing so.  At 100 yards it looks like it's a 2 to 2.5 MOA rifle with milsurp ammo.  Using the iron sights at 100 yards it's easy to keep all the rounds inside of the bull of an SR-1 target.  I can do that with my Yugo AK and irons but the longer sight radius of the PSL makes it much easier.

The 4x24mm LPS scope has very clear optics although there is a slight amber or yellow tint.  At 100 yards I was able to resolve .30 caliber holes if they were in the white.  That's good performance from a 4x scope.  The Dragunov reticle allows for precise aiming and with illumination should be visible in field conditions.

I am glad that I put an FSE recoil pad on the stock before taking it to the range.  This isn't so much for the recoil as to lengthen the stock.  Had I not done so I might have wound up with "scope eye" from the ocular bell hitting my eyebrow.

Compared with a Mosin-Nagant firing the same 7.62x54R cartridge, the PSL is much more pleasant to fire.  The gas operated action of the PSL soaks up quite a bit of the recoil.

Even though the stock is shaped for a right hander I had no problems shooting the rifle portside.  However, the scope is offset to the left and I think I want to replace it with a centered optic, which will be more comfortable.  A centered optic also will avoid the necessity to adjust for windage when shooting past 100 yards, due to the offset of the LPS.

It's just one range session but I am very happy with this purchase.  The PSL is accurate, reliable, and pleasant to shoot.  Right now I think it's the best deal going in a semiauto centerfire rifle chambering a full power round.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Several Recent Updates to The Shooters' Bar

Recently I've made a number of updates to The Shooters' Bar, my list of pro--RKBA attorneys.  If you are in need of a lawyer who shares pro-Second Amendment views (not just a "firearms lawyer"), TSB is the oldest and largest such resource on the Internet.